28 March 2024

Can I Change My University Course After First Year?

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You’ve recovered from an epic freshers’ week and you’re knee-deep in your studies. You’ve realised, after lots of thinking, that it’s probably not the course you should be on. What do you do?

Well, firstly, we’re here to tell you that this is common. There are also lots of reasons why you might feel this way. Uni is new, so it could just be nerves settling or feeling a little out of place. If you’re really not settled on your course, there are processes in place to help you.

Read on to find out how to change your course and who you need to speak to.

Can I change my university course during first year?

Let’s say you’ve decided a month in that you’d rather sit in a lecture about quantum physics rather than Shakespeare. It’s possible, but there are some things to think about.

Firstly, do you meet the entry requirements of the course you want to switch to? Switching to another course similar to the one you’re currently studying is a lot easier.

For example, if you’re currently studying biomedical sciences in chemistry but want to move over to biomedical sciences in human health, you should be able to move over with no real issue besides retaking a module or two.

It becomes tricky if you want to move between courses that have zero in common. For example, you want to swap a degree in computer systems engineering for film & television studies. If you don’t have the entry requirements for the course you’re interested in, it’s highly unlikely a change will be approved.

Another factor to think about is when you want to make this change. Universities are much more open to these kinds of requests the earlier you put them in. So the first term or the first few weeks of your first year. After this point, it does become difficult.

Space is also taken into consideration. If the course is full, it’s very unlikely that you’ll be admitted.

How do I change my course?

Firstly, you’ll need to speak with your Head of Department or course tutor letting them know of your intentions to change courses.

You’ll need to fill in a form outlining everything including;

  • The course you’re currently studying
  • Any modules already taken
  • The course you intend to take
  • A paragraph explaining why you want to change your course.

Every university is different, so what happens next is totally dependent on your uni. However, it’s worth keeping in mind that you might need to write a new personal statement and attend an interview.

If accepted, you might be able to switch as soon as a few weeks, but some universities might make you wait until the next term.

The first year of uni is a super important time. Read all about Why First Year Matters

Can I change my course after the first year?

You can. But, the longer you leave it the more difficult it can be to change your university course.

If the course you want to study has very similar content to your current course, you might be able to start your second year on the new course. If you’re looking to move over to something completely different, you’ll likely need to repeat the first year.

Those looking at a completely new course will need to apply through UCAS. That means;

  • Matching entry requirements
  • Writing a new personal statement
  • An interview.

Can I go to another university?

If your current university isn’t the perfect fit for you, there is an opportunity to change completely. 

These situations aren’t the easiest to navigate, so we’d always recommend speaking to someone at your university to help you through the process. This can be anyone from your course tutor or department head to your careers advisor or admissions officer.

While we’re sure they will be sad to go, their goal is to make sure you’re comfortable and have the tools you need to succeed. So don’t be afraid to reach out.

Before you do anything, you should contact the university you’re interested in and confirm they accept transfers.

If they do, you’ll need to make a new application with UCAS.

It’s unlikely universities will take on transfers midway through the academic year, and you’ll likely be told to finish the academic year before your transfer. This works out better anyway, grades gained in your first year can seriously bump up your chances.

Does changing your course affect your student loan?

It can, so it pays to always check before you do anything to confirm your entitlements and what might change.

When you know you’ll be changing your course or university, you’ll need to let Student Finance know right away. Making changes to your circumstances is a pretty straightforward process and will require you to log into your student finance account to fill in a form.

In most cases, there might not be much change to your entitlement unless there are any really big changes with the course or if you’ve decided to transfer universities. This could mean having to repay some loan or receiving less. Check with your student finance provider for more information;

Student Finance England

Student Finance Scotland

Student Finance Wales

Student Finance Northern Ireland

About to start your first year? We’ve got you covered. 


Speak to your course tutor, head of department or careers officer. TALK TO SOMEONE. It’s a huge decision which requires some thought, so it’s best to speak to the very people who have heaps of experience. They’ll do their best to help you.

Keep studying. While you’re waiting for a decision, it might seem like you’ve got all the time to do nothing. Nope, keep on studying and attending classes. Any grades you do get can contribute to the final decision, and no one wants to take on someone who won’t do their work.

You might not be able to change. There is a possibility that your request to transfer courses might not happen. This can be for many reasons, whether that’s because a course is full or you don’t qualify.

Do not leave your course until you have a decision. If you leave too soon, it could mean having no place to come back to or having to repeat the whole year.

Whatever you decide to do, make sure that it feels right. University is your chance to carve out a career and experience for yourself – so you have to make sure you’re doing something you know you’ll enjoy. 

All the best!